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Customer Review

468 of 543 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Our first foray into Potter's world is truly magical!, October 17, 2007
This review is from: Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone (Hardcover)
With this introductory novel was published in 1997, few would have predicted the unprecedented success this series would produce. And everything that made Harry Potter so successful is all first shown, though hardly fully explained, in this book, HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSPHER'S STONE.

The novel opens with Harry living under the cupboard with his abusive aunt and uncle. He has had a mean, depressed life, and though an active boy, the sheer amount of trauma he must have endured would scar any child. But the door opens out of this lifestyle. I've read an interesting theory (obviously not true), that a much different writer than Rowling would have ended Book 7 with Harry having imagined all this fantasy world, where he was so prominent and famous, to help escape the neglect and abuse from the Dursleys.

He gets a letter (actually, hundreds) saying he is in fact a wizard. So he is enrolled the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Him, along with his new friend the giant Hagrid, go to Diagon Alley, a magical bazaar, and thus he is thrust into the magical universe so captured the imagination of millions. We soon learn Harry is world famous among wizards for conquering an evil Wizard named Vo - um - He Who Must Not Be Named. Sorry `bout that slip. =). Along the way, we learn that Voldemort is after a magical artifiact called the Philosopher's Stone (which was, unfortunately, changed from the UK original title to "Sorcerer's Stone" in all other regions). So much of the novel is driven by the three main characters defending this stone from Voldemort.

In this novel we get the first ever glimpses of Hogwarts, Voldemort, Quidditch, Dumbledore, Severus Snape, muggles, the Forbidden Forest, the Invisibility Cloak, and any other number of thins Rowling's magical confectionary of an imagination has cooked up for us.

One of the best things about this book, and indeed about the whole series, is how Rowling plants details which, when reading, you may not necessarily pick up on, but are later rather important in later volumes. Who would think Griphook and Hagrid's admonition no one breaks into Gringotts would have such prominence in Book 7? Or the importance of Harry being able to talk to the boa constrictor, something which is not referenced again until Book 2 and then not fully explained until Book 7? Or the Invisibility Cloak, a device first introduced in this novel, but you have no idea of its importance, or even that it has real significane, until Book 7.

Another great example of this planting of clues is Neville Longbottom, who, but by fate, could easily have been the main star of the series, though you don't find out that information until much later in Book 5.

The book also introduces the relationship dynamics that would continue throughout the entire series, from the interplay between the three main kids (Harry, Ron, and Hermione), to the ambiguous Severus Snape, the wise mentor figure of Albus Dumbledore, bumbling Hagrid with his love of nasty creatures, prim and reserved Professor McGonagall, evil incarnate Voldemort, Draco Malfoy, etc.

Overall, there are numerous memorable scenes in this novel. As the novels progressed, the children aged and the target audience would have aged as well. In this novel, they are still very young and immature, but already at this early point in their career, there are seeds of greatness for Harry, Ron, and Hermione.

The same can be said of this debut novel as well.

This is my order of Potter books by preference:
Deathly Hallows
Prisoner of Azkaban
Order of the Phoenix
Philosopher's Stone/Chamber of Secrets (I rank them both the same)
Half-Blood Prince
Goblet of Fire.
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Showing 1-10 of 17 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 22, 2007, 9:01:41 PM PDT
good review.

Posted on Feb 17, 2008, 3:07:39 PM PST
Dan says:
I agreed with your review until you ranked Deathly Hallows as the best. Ouch. Hard to take you seriously after that blunder. Nevertheless, other than that, it was a good review.

Posted on Oct 30, 2008, 12:36:58 PM PDT
R. Foss says:
I think the rankings of the books is personal and subjective. As there are 5040 ways to rank them, I am happy to say that I rank them almost the way you do, although I would put The Sorcerer's Stone 5th and the Half-Blood Prince 6th. I will rank The Deathly Hallows first as it does put crown on this magnificent series. Although the last book can have frustrating passages to some, it has many of the story's finest moments. The last quarter of the book makes one proud to be a Potter fan.

Posted on May 20, 2009, 4:26:29 PM PDT
Completely agree with you!!! Especially on the rankings!!! Great review!!!

Posted on Jun 1, 2010, 4:48:07 AM PDT
An informative, helpful, and wonderful review indeed!

Posted on Dec 17, 2010, 4:13:46 AM PST
YG says:
Good ranking order! I personally grew to like Goblet of Fire over time, so now it would rank higher up, but still I'm surprised someone out there agrees with me. I also might switch Order and Prisoner, but largely just because Order was longer, and therefore more prolonged fun :)

Posted on Jul 5, 2012, 2:13:37 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jul 5, 2012, 2:42:38 PM PDT]

Posted on Jul 25, 2012, 7:52:29 AM PDT
The book is a true classic that once I began reading, it entered the deepest recesses of my soul. I mean that. J.K. Rowling affected so many folks because something special emanates from those books! I always liked the Half-Blood Prince when the Phoenix, with its song, flies around Dumbledore. That was amazing.

Posted on Sep 27, 2012, 1:31:37 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Sep 27, 2012, 4:01:17 PM PDT]

Posted on Oct 1, 2012, 2:24:46 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Oct 2, 2012, 7:57:42 AM PDT]
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